- Tells your target audience about the features and attributes of your product.
- Is most effective when your product has unique features that make it different from or better than your competition.
- May not be enough to help you stand out because consumers are constantly presented with similar products that have marginal differences.
- Defines your product more by its benefits than its functional attributes.
- Is sometimes viewed as a “luxury” type of advertising that does not deliver immediate benefits or measurable results.
- Is a showcase for the emotional and psychological qualities that surround your product and affect a consumer’s decision to buy. Remember, the buy decision is not always a rational one based on an analysis of competing product features.
The key is to use each type of advertising in conjunction with the other to maximize results. Target’s retail campaign around the holidays is a nice example where both types of advertising blended in an impressive way. Three kids go on a journey to relight a huge Christmas tree, and their mission is sprinkled with some toys that come to life to help. The campaign captures the magic of the season at the same time as it soft-sells a few products available on Target’s shelves and website.
A strategy we’ve used successfully for one of our clients, Lancaster County Career & Technology Center (CTC), started off as an image campaign, to help brand them and raise awareness of the school as an affordable, flexible option for higher education. As CTC needs to promote specific upcoming programs or new specialized degrees, we keep the same branding look and overall message points, incorporating the specifics of the current need. Check out examples of their marketing material here.
In worlds where color is a big deal—like ours—there’s been a bit of a buzz about the fact that the Pantone Color Institute® named two colors of the year for 2016. The colors are Rose Quartz and Serenity, which at first glance suggest pastel pink and baby blue. Here’s some of what Pantone had to say about the color selections:
Consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security. Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.
As always, you can expect the color(s) of the year to pop up all over the place…in fashion, furniture, beauty, industrial design, interior decorating, etc.
2016 is a Leap Year. That means we have an extra day in February. If you were born on February 29th, you get to celebrate your birthday on your actual birth date for a change.
We have Julius Caesar to thank for the first Leap Years. He introduced the idea to the Romans more than 2000 years ago, declaring that any year evenly divisible by four would be a Leap Year. But that led to way too many Leap Years. Still, the practice continued until the Gregorian calendar was introduced 1500 years later.
Today, Leap Years are declared according to three criteria of the Gregorian calendar. First, a Leap Year must be divisible by four….however, if it can be evenly divided by 100, then it is NOT a Leap Year…..unless the year also is evenly divisible by 400…then it IS a Leap Year.
Why do we have Leap Years anyway? They are needed to keep our modern day Gregorian calendar aligned with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds – to circle once around the sun. This is called a tropical year. However, the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year, so if we didn’t add a day on February 29 nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days. (Thank you, timeanddate.com, for that head-spinning scientific, astronomical explanation! If that’s too much history and too many numbers and way more information about Leap Years than you need, we understand.)
Leap Day offers a number of traditions and beliefs – it’s known as a day for women to propose marriage to the man of their choice…it’s the day, in 1692, that the first warrants were issued in the Salem witch trials (some find that significant)…and it’s promoted as a day to “take a leap” and try something you’ve never done before. We also think it would be a great day to catch up on lost sleep and take an extra-long afternoon nap…so maybe that will catch on.
However you choose to mark the year and/or the day, be sure to make it fun. Happy Leaping!
When we have the opportunity to work with a client on a longer-form piece, such as an annual report, our skill at pulling it all together really shines. The expression ‘The devil is in the details’ is never more true than with a project that spans many months and involves many people.
Take the annual report we recently finished for Holy Spirit—A Geisinger Affiliate. We have worked on Holy Spirit’s annual report for several years. It’s always an interesting and fun project. We start with a detailed production schedule, determining what needs to be done, by when and by whom. Much is involved to complete it: concepts to develop, design ideas to create, layout options to consider, copy to write and edit, photoshoots to art direct, printing to prep for, meetings to coordinate…you get the idea. Through it all, we allow no devils!
Don’t just take our word for it, though. Lori Moran, Holy Spirit’s Director of Public Relations & Marketing, says,
There are a lot of moving parts to a project such as our annual report. I know I can count on TCG to take care of everything, start to finish, concept to printing. I know the project is in good hands.”
Clients come and go…but many of our clients come and stay. We treasure those long-term relationships and feel we can learn from our clients as much as they can learn from us. Krista Walton, Marketing Communications Specialist at Armstrong World Industries – a client for many years – took a few minutes recently to talk about what it’s like to work with us.
Why do you like working with TCG?
It’s such a talented group of people—not only do they bring great design ideas to the table, but their attention to detail is extremely valuable, especially in situations where quick turnaround time is required. No matter how crazy of a request I may throw at them—they always get it done, on time, and the results are fantastic.
What do you think about the quality of our work?
Outstanding! Sometimes I’m not even sure of what I’m looking for—all I have is a high-level idea. But even when given little direction, TCG comes back withdesigns and ideas that exceed my expectations.
What is your favorite piece of work we’ve done for Armstrong and why?
That’s tough—there are so many options! If I have to choose one, I’m going with a display that TCG worked on for many months for one of our retailers. It was a huge project, and there were points when the deadlines were extremely tight—many late nights were involved! I’m proud of what we accomplished together as a team. The display looks amazing!
What kind of results has TCG helped to generate for Armstrong?
All of the great promotional materials and merchandising that TCG designs for us is critical to our success.
Thanks for your kind words, Krista. You are an outstanding client and we look forward to many more years together!
We just finished the first of several pieces for a new client launching a new business. It’s always fun to help a new business get off the ground—developing their logo, the look of their collateral and their public persona. When we are involved from the start, we seek the client’s input and then put together creative that reflects their personality and meets their goals.
In case it’s not obvious, we just love what we do!
Fun historical fact: there was a time when women were not permitted to go into the field of nursing or enter nursing schools. Imagine! Times changed, of course, and now women make up the majority of the nursing workforce. Times continue to change, and more men are drawn to nursing today. It is a rewarding career that’s expected to present plentiful opportunities for employment for years to come.
We recently had a special opportunity to work with a consortium of career and technology schools to develop a 4-minute video aimed at recruiting male students to a career in nursing. Using a testimonial format, we interviewed a diverse group of male students in practical nursing programs and graduates working in the nursing field. We edited those interviews into a fast-paced, informative video about what it’s like to be on the nursing career path for men.
We had the good fortune to work on this project through our client relationship with Lancaster County Career & Technology Center (Lancaster CTC). In addition to Lancaster CTC, the consortium includes Chester County Intermediate Unit, Delaware County Technical Schools, Eastern Center for Arts and Technology, and Lebanon County Career and Technology Center.
We’ve had great feedback on the video! The schools were very happy with the finished product, and they all have put the video on their websites where prospective students can easily view it.
Our favorite bit of feedback came from Carolyn Voorhees, MSN, RN, one of our contacts at Lancaster CTC during production of the video, who had this to say: “Everyone loved the video. Your organization should get an award for this production…it is excellent.”
Thank you, Carolyn! You can check out the video for yourself right here: Men in Nursing.
A couple of years ago, we gave recipients of our newsletter, Insight, the option to receive it electronically instead of in print. We repeat that offer in every issue. To date, 13 of about 500 people on our mailing list opted for the electronic version.
While 500 people is not a huge sample, the experience tells us that many folks still favor printed communications. Maybe they like the feel of paper in hand or maybe they get very little in the mail these days and like seeing something addressed to them personally. Our conclusions may not be scientific—but then again, maybe they are! Some studies show that there is, in fact, science behind the preference for printed material…neuroscience.
These facts from recent research make the point:
- Canada Post conducted a “neuromarketing” study that showed printed direct mail is: (1) easier to understand and more memorable than digital media; (2) far more persuasive than digital media; and (3) visually processed quicker than digital media.
- Direct mail—such as printed newsletters—sends a sensory signal that stimulates a deeper level of engagement than digital messages, making it much more likely to be noticed. Consumers state that they are more likely to notice and read direct mail (53%) than email (26%).
- In the world of advertising, print appears to have a lot of “neuro” swagger as well. A neuroscientific study sponsored by the Postal Service Inspector General’s office found that while digital ads seize attention more quickly, print ads hold attention longer, elicit a stronger emotional reaction, and play a greater role in the ultimate purchase decision.
Here’s what we know: newsletters are still an effective tool to reach current and prospective customers. Though there were claims about a decade ago that print would be all but dead by now, that’s not happening. We produce newsletters for several clients who still favor print for this communication. And we do our own newsletter in print. We also post ours on this website.
It’s not necessary to drop print for electronic newsletters. You can make them available both ways, as we do, and let your readers choose. They’re smart and they know what they want.
If you would like to receive our newsletter insight please send a note to Margie and she will add you to our mailing list!